T: 01202 802807

T: 01202 802807

What is a Letter of Wishes?

What is a Letter of Wishes?

A Letter of Wishes is used to share personal messages, guidance or wishes that are not appropriate to include in your Will. It is usually stored with your Will and its contents communicated after your death. 

If you would like to leave a Letter of Wishes for your loved ones or your executors, we can advise on the process and contents. For tailored assistance, contact us today.

How is a Letter of Wishes different from a Will?

Your Will sets out how you want your estate to be dealt with after your death. It is legally binding and your executors must follow its instructions as far as possible. 

In contrast, a Letter of Wishes is not legally binding. Rather than official instructions, its contents are treated as informal guidance. Nevertheless, to avoid confusion or claims that it overrides your Will, a Letter of Wishes should be signed but not witnessed.

Why might I write a Letter of Wishes?

During probate, your Will becomes a public document. If you have private thoughts, messages or advice you wish to pass on, you may prefer to share them confidentially in a Letter of Wishes.

Additionally, if you have set up any form of Trust within your Will then the Letter of Wishes can set out clear to the Trustees of the Will Trust the manner in which you wish the Trust to operate while it remains active.

What can a Letter of Wishes include? 

A Letter of Wishes can contain whatever you would like to communicate to your family or executors. However, there are some common topics that they address.

Guidance regarding property distribution 

A Letter of Wishes might offer additional guidance for executors on how to distribute your personal property, such as information to help them identify certain items. It can also offer advice to beneficiaries on how you hope they will use their inheritance. 

When you draft your Will, you can include a clause instructing executors to distribute your personal property according to your Letter of Wishes. This would allow you to simply update your Letter of Wishes should you acquire new property after you have written your Will, rather than having to make a formal amendment.

Guidance for your children’s guardians

If your children are aged under 18, you will likely appoint a legal guardian for them in your Will. You can use a Letter of Wishes to provide their guardian with information about how you would like them to be raised. Commonly, guidance is given regarding children’s religion, ethics or education, but it can cover any part of their upbringing.

Explanation for those excluded from the Will

If you have not made provision for a certain individual in your Will, you can give your reasons in a Letter of Wishes. Doing so allows you to make clear that their exclusion was not an oversight, deterring them from making a claim against the estate.

Tax guidance

In certain circumstances, the terms of the Will and/or a Will Trust will have been set up with the intention of taking advantage of tax allowances open to the executors and/or Trustees and the Letter of Wishes gives you the opportunity to set out clearly your intentions in this regard including how different beneficiaries should benefit upon different times and events.

Personal messages

Sharing your final words for loved ones in a Letter of Wishes ensures that your goodbyes are said. For your family, a letter from you may well be the most treasured part of your legacy.

Wills and Estate Planning Lawyers, Bournemouth

Personal messages Wills and Estate Planning Lawyers, Bournemouth

If you would like to leave a Letter of Wishes, Solomons Solicitors are here to help. Our considerate team can advise on its composition and ensure it works in tangent with your Will, without causing any disruption to the probate process.

For thoughtful advice and a no-obligation initial consultation, call us today on 01202 802807 or complete our online enquiry form.

Made with